The pure brilliance of Led Zeppelin is something that has beguiled audiences for decades. As an outfit of musicians, they are certainly one of the most potent around. To include the mercurial guitar maestro Jimmy Page in your ranks and the powerhouse percussion of John Bonham and the dynamic rhythm of John Paul Jones too, and you have some serious credentials. However, perhaps the brightest jewel in this particular heavy metal crown is the supremely talented Robert Plant.
The band’s lead singer since the beginning of their impressive run (despite almost becoming a member of The Who), Plant isn’t just considered a great singer but one of the very artists who sculpted the definition of what a rock singer should be. While there aren’t many comparative performers in today’s rock scene, Plant helped lay the foundations of vocalists everywhere with his impressive range, thunderous delivery and indisputable form. Though rightly seen as an integral member of Led Zeppelin, Plant actually affected the entire music industry with his work. Below, we’re looking at the remarkable isolated vocal track for Led Zeppelin’s song ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.
One of the greatest bands to have ever walked the earth was always going to need a decent lead singer. Often seen as the band’s focal point, the frontman’s role is to be pointed weaponry at the very tip of the band’s charge to stardom. For Plant, a singer who was not only keen on their craft, and the honing of it, the life of a rock ‘n’ roll lead singer wasn’t necessarily all it cracked up to be.
With luscious locks, a bare chest and a powerhouse performance, it’s easy to cast Plant in the usual role, but the truth is, he was always very different. That’s not to say the singer wasn’t caught up in the lifestyle of Led Zeppelin. Following the band’s explosion on the rock scene in the late sixties, Plant, like the rest of the band, was swallowed up for a time in the hysteria of being a rock star. Thankfully, one thing the singer always kept at the forefront of his life was his art. Plant always ensured that his performances were the best they could be, either on stage or in the studio. Nothing changed for Zeppelin’s polarising Led Zeppelin III.
When Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin III in 1970, the chances are that many people expected them to flop. They had produce two outstanding records, and nobody thought their express train to the top could continue to chug so heartily. But, as we know now, the band did just that and delivered one of the finest, most underrated, moments of their career. It was through songs like the bombastic ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ that we can hear their evolution, despite its origination.
The song was originally scheduled to be placed on Led Zeppelin II but was eventually bumped for ‘Whole Lotta Love’. It meant that the band performed the song on a few occasions live before taking it into the studio to lay down the complex lead lines and difficult vocal melodies. A song that includes, what Zeppelin engineer Terry Manning called, “the best rock guitar solo of all time” is also one of their most difficult to sing.
During a 2003 interview with Mojo, Plant said: “The musical progression at the end of each verse – the chord choice – is not a natural place to go. And it’s that lift up there that’s so regal and so emotional. I don’t know whether that was born from the loins of JP [Jimmy Page] or JPJ [John Paul Jones], but I know that when we reached that point in the song, you could get a lump in the throat from being in the middle of it.”
Always concerned with his craft, Plant’s tone is somewhat different too. Not only reliant on the gravelly wail that had become so adored, but Plant also used the record to show the more tender moments of his range. It’s one of his finest performances as the frontman of Led Zeppelin, and, with the isolation of his vocal track, we get to hear every nuance.
Below, listen to the isolated vocals of Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin song ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.